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foot of the table which Nestor used, was also covered with fome colourf, But shall we give the pane of painting to such fort of works? It is the mixture, the union, and the opposition of colours, or even the different shades of the same colour, these are the reflections, the shades, and the lights which constitute the art of painting. The rest is only plaistering.
It is sufficient to cast our eyes on history, to be convinced chat painting was unknown to the ages we are at present speaking of. A croud of monuments attest the frequent use they made at that time of carving, of chasing, and of sculpture. Nothing like it, nor even approaching to it, with respect' to painting. There reigns on this subject the most profound and most general silence. The scripture, which speaks of so many sorts of arts, which forbids fo expressly every representation tending to idolatry, says nothing of painting. Lastly, the testimony of an author who has great knowledge of antiquity, decides it in favour of the sentiment which I have embraced. Pliny affirms, that the art of painting was not yet invented at the time of the war of Troy"; and he appears not to have been determined till after having examined this question very attentively.
Want of attention and the defect of not having fufficiently reflected on the essence of painting, has niade them fall into many mistakes with relation to the origin and epoch of this art. Most authors who have treated on this subject, have always confounded design with painting; and becaule they knew to design in the most ancient times, they have concluded that they also knew the art of painting, in spite of the essential difference there is between the practice of one and the other. This is, I believe, the source of all the.errors which have been propagated about the epoch of painting. They would never distinguish the art of designing from that of painting. I imaginé I have said enough to fhew that
f Iliad. 1. 1. v. 628. I say of some colour, for we must know that there is no agreement about the fort of colour that Homer means by the term Kúcvos, which he uses on many occasions. & L. 35. sect. 6.p. 682.
painting was not known in the ages which make the second part of my work; but that it was even posterior to Homer.
Of the state of arts in Greece.
E find very few lights in the history of the Egyptians
and the people of Asia on the progress of the arts. It is not easy to perceive these different degrees, that succeflive progression which ought necessarily to prove all that enters into these kind of discoveries and inventions. It is not then in the history of the oriental nations that we must 1tudy the progress of the human mind. It does not thew itself sufficiently : the gradations are not sensible enough, for want of monuments and historical details.
The Greeks will furnish us with many more resources. We are sufficiently instructed in the state in which the arts liad been succeslively in the different ages which composed the history of that nation. From the moment in which these people began to emerge from their barbarity, to the rime in which they finished their history, we may consider their progress, and follow the order and the thread of their knowledge. We shall easily discover in the history of the arts among the Greeks, the different degrees by which these people were raised successively from the most gross practices to the most sublime discoveries.
Fables, it is true, have greatly altered the first monumnents of the history of Greece. There reign many contradictions about the time and about the authors of the tirst inventions. We cannot depend on the facts but to a certain degree. Yet, in spite of the obscurity and uncertain. ty which a tradition not much to be depended upon, has ipread over the times which we are now going to run o. ver, with fome attention and the assistance of criticism, we are able to clear up the truth of a great number of events ;
we there perceive in general a certain connection, a certain order, which does not permit us to throw them into the rank of those traditions totally void of historical foundations.
In combining, in bringing together many facts, many circumstances, we may fucceed to form a very exact idea of the origin and of the progress of arts in Greece.
There are few arts of which the Greeks can boast to have been the inventors. They had received them, for the most part, from Egypt and Afia. . But the point of perfection to which these people had carried the discoveries which other nations had imparted to them, sufficiently recompenses for the merit of the invention. We owe to Greece, the taste, the elegance, and all the beauties, in a word, of which the arts are capable.
We may yet say that the progress of the arts had been dow among the Greeks. From the first ages after the deluge we see pomp and magnificence reign in Asia and in Egypt. Nothing of this kind in Greece. Instead of those grand works, instead of those works equally magnificent and finished, with which we were entertained at this time, we are going to see nothing but the most simple objects, gross practices proportioned to the little knowledge that a nation must have in the arts, which only just began to cmerge from barbarity, and to be polished.
ET us recolle& in a few words what I have already said
elsewhere of the ancient state of Greece. We have there seen that the first inhabitants of that country were plunged into the darkness of the most gross and most profound ignorance. They were, to speak properly, real savages running in the woods, without a chief and without discipline, fierce to the degree of eating each other; ignorant of the use of arts, and the proper food of man, fupporting themselves with fruits, with roots, and wild plants.
- Part 1. bɔok 1. chapa 1, art, s.
The conquerors who went out of Egypt a few ages af. ter the deluge, had probably carried into Greece some tincture of the arts; but these first feeds could not prosper. The extinction of the family of the Titans, and the destruction of their empire, replunged Greece into anarchy and ignorance. The different colonies which passed some time after this event into that part of Europe from Asia and Egypt, drew them from barbarism and rudeness. These new colonies by mixing themselves with the ancient inhabitants, softened their manners. They engaged some families to quit the woods, and join them. They formed societies in many districts. The chiefs of these new establishments imparted to their fubje&s the most necessary knowledge for man, and provided for their most pressing necessities. Greece was in, sensibly polished. It was enriched succeffively by discoveries from Asia and Egypt. Every thing changed its face in that part of Europe. The people were humanized, the arts were folidly establified, and acquired even a new degree of perfection. Light succeeded to the darkness of ignorance and rudeness.
Ancient authors do not agree about the time of these happy changes. It is very difficult to determine from their relations, by whom and in what time the arts, were introduced among the Greeks. There remain on these facts the greatest obscurity and the greatest contradictions. Let us try to discover the source of them.
The Greeks had received their arts from the people of Egypt and of Asia ; but conformable in this point with all the other nations of antiquity, they would attribute their origin to the gods. This notion has thrown the greatest obscurity over the history and the epocha of the arts in Greece. We may assign for it many causes.
The chiefs of the first colonies which came into Greece, brought into that part of Europe some tincture of the arts. They introduced at the same time the worship of the divi. nities honoured in the countries from whence they came. These divinities were for the most part men whom they had deified in acknowledgment for the useful discoveries which they had imparted to mankind. The strangers who introduced these gods into Greece, without doubt made known also the motive of the worship which they paid to them.
These first establishments, as I have already said, did not subsist long. The family and the empire of the Titans was extinguished after two or three generations. Greece fell immediately into its ancient state. Ignorance, an inseparable companion of trouble and anarchy, made them forget these events. There only remained a confused remembrance. The Greeks did not hesitate to confound those who had fhewed them the arts, with the divinities under whose aufpices they had been brought to them : the first cause of er. ror and confusion.
New colonies passed into Greece some time after the Titans. The conductors of these various colonies brought again into that part of Europe the arts and the divinities of the countries from whence they came.
These countries were nearly the same with those from whence the ancient colonies came, that is to say, Egypt and Phoenicia. The worship of the divinities which these new colonies introduced, did not differ, either in the form or the motives, from that which the Titan princes had originally brought; a new fource of errors and uncertainties.
Ignorance and the course of time had confounded these epochs; and they afterwards looked upon those as new institutions, whose origin was very ancient.
The divinities of Egypt and Phoenicia, by changing their retreat, insensibly changed their name. The Greeks, after having adopted them, appropriated them to themselves, and would
make it be believed that the gods whom they adored, were born in Greece. In consequence of this, they searched for explications and resemblances agreeable to those ideas. The priests took care to propagate them. They disguised the history of the ancient divinities. The truth of the facts